Dominic Mitchell‘s prize-winning new play centres on the lives of four young people who made a pact in their twenties that each one of them who didn’t fulfil their promise by the age of thirty would commit suicide. The four of them are all bound up inextricably in each other’s lives, but all have different ideas about whether the pact is still valid.

Benny (Sam Donovan) is the eldest of the four and today is his 30th birthday. He’s a promising musician who hasn’t quite made it yet and feels he is a failure. He’s prepared to go through with the suicide in order to achieve the fame he yearns for and his friend Max (Philip Brodie) is here to film the whole thing. Benny is a fairly simple creature who is prepared to be bullied by his friend Max who tells him that he has made arrangements to show the film at the Tate Modern. Max presents Benny with his birthday presents – a length of rope, some vodka and pills, and a cut throat razor.

Karen (Laura Murray) is a television producer of a reality show that exploits people with terminal illnesses, following the progress of the disease until death. This programme is of course inspired by the recent death of reality TV star Jade Goody. Max has got her along to witness Benny’s demise. The fourth member of the party is Frank (George Tovey) who used to be the lover of Karen until alcohol took him over. He is now in recovery, living in a commune in Dorset.

This black comedy has a dreamlike quality and the weirdness of the setting helps this illusion. A practical kitchen set with kitchen sink, cupboards, cooker etc on one side of the stage is juxtaposed with an arrangement of boxes containing Benny’s worldly goods on the other, which sit beneath a strange self-portrait and a poem by Sylvia Plath painted on the wall. In the centre is a huge TV monitor which shows everything the camera is recording. An accomplished effort all-round.

– Aline Waites